The role of women's orgasm goal pursuit in women's orgasm occurrence

Staci Gusakova, Terri D. Conley, Jennifer L. Piemonte, Jes L. Matsick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Heterosexual women's low orgasm rates are widely acknowledged within sexuality research. However, researchers have not accounted for whether women are even pursuing orgasm (actively and purposefully attempting to orgasm) in their sexual encounters with men. Given that heterosexual sexual scripts often deprioritize women's pleasure, women may vary in their orgasm goal pursuit – whether they set orgasm as a goal and strive to have an orgasm – in any given sexual encounter, with some women being less likely to pursue orgasm than others. Across two studies, we investigated the association between women's orgasm goal pursuit and orgasm occurrence. By examining the variations in women's orgasm goal pursuit, we aimed to explain why some women orgasm in their sexual encounters and other women do not. Women who reported greater orgasm pursuit were more likely to report that they orgasmed in their most recent sexual encounter. These findings suggest that researchers should not assume that women equally pursue orgasm in their sexual encounters, and that this important individual difference can help explain differences in orgasm occurrence between women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109628
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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